6 Glossary


Acceptability is the extent to which a certain behaviour is considered normal and appropriate within society as a whole or within subpopulations. It is sometimes referred to as the social norm. It can be influenced by advertising, legislation, and culture.


Accessibility is the ease with which all persons can access a commodity, facility, service or product. It includes number and location of facilities or outlets, their opening times, distance and ease of travel, and language and medium of communication.


Affordable is the extent to which products and services are within a person's financial means to purchase. Affordability measures include the use of taxation, pricing and subsidies to deter purchase of unhealthy commodities such as foods that have a high saturated fat or sugar content, cigarettes and alcohol, and to encourage the purchase of healthier options such as foods that are low in fat and sugar.

Behaviour change programmes

Behaviour change programmes are a coordinated set of interventions, which aim to change the health behaviours of individuals, communities or whole populations.

Brief advice

Brief advice can take from 30 seconds to a couple of minutes to deliver. It is mainly about giving people information, or directing them where to go for further help. It may also include other activities such as raising awareness of risks, or providing encouragement and support for change. It follows an 'ask, advise, assist' structure. For example, brief advice on smoking would involve recording the person's smoking status and advising them that stop smoking services offer effective help to quit. Then, depending on the person's response, they may be directed to these services for additional support.

Brief interventions

Brief interventions involve spoken advice, discussion, negotiation or encouragement, with or without written or other support or follow‑up. They can be delivered by a range of primary and community care professionals. These interventions are often opportunistic, typically taking no more than a few minutes for basic advice, up to around 20 minutes for a more extended, individually‑focused discussion. They may also involve referral for further interventions or more intensive support.


Dementia is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms including memory loss, problems with reasoning and communication, and a reduction in a person's ability to carry out daily activities such as washing, dressing and cooking. The most common types of dementia are Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, mixed dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Dementia is a progressive condition, which means that the symptoms will gradually get worse. This progression will vary from person to person and each will experience dementia in a different way – people may often have some of the same general symptoms, but the degree to which these affect each person will vary (Social Care Institute for Excellence).


Any long‑term restriction on a person's ability to perform an activity in the way, or within the range, considered normal. This may be because of limited body function or structure, or personal or environmental factors.


Frailty typically means a person is at a higher risk of a sudden deterioration in their physical and mental health. Frailty is distinct from living with 1 or more long‑term conditions or disabilities, although there may be overlaps in their management (British Geriatric Society 2014).

Free sugars

Free sugars include table sugar (sucrose), glucose, fructose, and lactose that are added to food and beverages by manufacturers, cooks and consumers. Free sugars also include the naturally present sugars in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit concentrates. The term free sugars does not include the natural sugars found in non‑refined foodstuffs, such as brown rice or fruit. (Adapted from the World Health Organization definition, 2014).

Individual‑level interventions

Individual‑level intervention is used to mean an intervention that aims to help someone with a behaviour that may adversely affect their health. It can be delivered on a one‑to‑one, group or remote basis, but the focus is on creating measurable change in a specific person. This type of intervention could include a GP exercise referral programme, a community weight management class, or online application to help people monitor and change their alcohol intake.

Non‑communicable chronic conditions

Non‑communicable chronic conditions are conditions that are not passed from person to person. This includes the 4 broad groups of non‑communicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. However, this term is broader and also encompasses chronic hearing and vision conditions.

Population‑level initiatives

Population‑level initiatives are national, regional or local policies or campaigns that address the underlying social, economic and environmental conditions of a population, with the aim of improving everyone's health. This type of intervention could include population‑wide distribution of leaflets that highlight the importance of being physically active, adopting a healthy diet and being a healthy weight. It could also include taxation and legislative measures to change the availability and affordability of certain products (such as reducing the density of take‑away outlets in an area).


Resilience is usually thought of as the ability to adapt and thrive despite experiencing adversity. A resilient person has faced challenges, such as injury or illness, and has remained mentally and physically healthy (or 'bounced back' to being mentally and physically healthy by adapting to their new situation). Resilience to dementia, disability and frailty means a person will be able to withstand or delay the onset of some or all of these conditions and remain healthy for longer.

Successful ageing

Survival to an advanced age while maintaining physical and cognitive function, functional independence and a full and active life. Ill health and disability are compressed into a relatively short period before death (Fries et al. 2011).

Third sector

The part of civil society that comprises charities, community interest companies, voluntary and community organisations, social enterprises and co‑operatives.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)